About Thomas Scholz
Meet Tom Scholz, MD
Tom Scholz, MD, is a pediatric cardiologist and director of the division of child and community health for University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. He joined UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital in 1993.
When did you know you wanted to be a doctor?
In high school, one of my classmates had a father who was a cardiac surgeon. To do open heart surgery in the mid-1970s was really something. Her father invited us into the operating room (OR). The way he phrased it was, “It’s career day.” It really wasn’t, but that’s what he said. I got to spend a couple of hours at the head of the OR table. I had inklings of being a doctor prior to that, but that put it over the top—to see the heart and how it functions. I remember wiggling in among all the anesthesia equipment; we were surrounded by it. Thankfully I didn’t faint!
What is the role of the division of child and community health?
The foundation of our division is 14 regional centers around the state, many in rural areas. We provide direct care services and care coordination for children and youth with special health care needs. The foundation of our funding is through a Title V block grant from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration, but we receive other funding from state and federal agencies.
We serve kids with autism and those on the autism spectrum, children with behavioral problems, and those with genetic needs or any complex medical condition that requires multiple specialists be involved. We help provide resources, help coordinate medical services, and are in the process of growing our telehealth services [use of telecommunications technology to treat and diagnose patients remotely].
One of our goals is to expand telemedicine services to allow access to specialized pediatric care in communities across Iowa. I think one of the things our new children’s hospital will do is help us recruit and retain world-class specialists who will help out with telemedicine. Currently we are doing telepsychiatry. We also do genetics and nutritional consultations and some neurology via telemedicine.
How does your role as a pediatric cardiologist inform your job?
I have had quite a bit of experience doing outreach clinics. I have a weekly pediatric cardiology clinic in Dubuque, and through that work, I understand the importance of providing care and support for families in their home communities. It’s so valuable and so appreciated. Seeing kids with special health care needs in my clinic underscores the need for effectively coordinating care for these kids and families. Supporting families with kids with complex health care needs, offering coordinated care, and providing services that support them and their families—that’s really what the child and community health division is all about.
Who works in the division?
There is one pediatric faculty member in the division, and that’s me. Our medical director, Dr. Susan Pike, is in the Department of Psychiatry. At our regional centers, we employ nurse practitioners, nurses, medical assistants, and, importantly, family navigators. We employ family navigators who have a connection to the community in such a way that they can provide connections to services needed by our families. All are parents of kids with special health care needs and are good communicators. That’s important. Many of them have dedicated a good part of their lives to caring for kids with special health care needs. The head of our family navigation group has national prominence and regularly speaks at conferences. Our family navigator network is really a leader in family-to-family support.
What would you like people to know about our new children’s hospital?
One of the guiding principles of this hospital is that it will serve as the center of a system of care for children and families—not just to provide care in Iowa City, but to be a foundation for pediatric services that can be provided statewide.
What do you like about working for UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital?
I have a great set of colleagues, and it’s a great environment in which to work. From the faculty and staff to the hospital leadership to the faculty in other departments, everyone has the goal to provide the best care for the kids and families of Iowa. And that goal is unwavering.
Training and Education
MD, Washington University Medical Center, St. Louis
Pediatrics, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa
Pediatric Cardiology, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa
The number of stars is an average of all responses to provider-related questions from Press Ganey patient satisfaction surveys. Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. About our ratings.